Waiting for advent could be a great new way to prepare to prepare. An advent for advent. This takes some discipline in today's world since there are so many reasons to prepare for Christmas and skip the waiting. I am beginning to reflect on what advent means for us today while reading The Spirit of the Liturgy by Joseph Ratzinger. The chapter on Sacred Time has a reflection on the dates of Christmas. He writes: "Astonishingly, the starting point for the birth of Christ was March 25th in the early Church. It is traditionally the day Jesus suffered on the cross and so the day of the "new creation." Nine months after March 25th is December 25th - a development in the West (3rd Cent.) while in the East January 6th is celebrated as the birth of Jesus. Creation and the cross are connected in the "hour of Jesus" There is a pre-annunciation (1 Col 1:15) of the cosmos since Christ is the first born of all creation. Up until December 25th darkness increases - and then the light begins to advance. The "bridegroom comes forth from his chamber" (Psalm 18). Getting our lamps ready is a way to prepare. So this week before advent is the advent of preparation for preparing. In honor of this waiting-time the photo appended is an "advent tree." Blessed are those who wait!